No. 1 Johnston sweeps FDSH softball squad

Andi Adams has a vision of where she wants her fourth-ranked (Class 4A) Fort Dodge softball squad to be.

After three games against elite talent in a 24-hour period of time, the Dodgers know what it is going to take.

Fort Dodge (9-3 overall) dropped a doubleheader to No. 1 (5A) Johnston on Wednesday, a night after being blanked at top-rated Dallas Center-Grimes (4A).

The Dodgers lost 3-1 in the opener and 5-1 in the nightcap at Rogers Park yesterday evening.

Fort Dodge is now 1-3 against top-ranked opponents, owning a victory over then-No. 1 (3A) Sergeant-Bluff Luton earlier his season.

“They (Johnston) are just flawless,” Adams said. “They did everything right, and when they came to the plate everyone of them was looking to hit.

“We need to learn from this – we’ve already learned from it, but it’s time to take these experiences and grow.”

Adams knows that to be the best, her squad has to beat the best. The Dodgers didn’t get the job done against the unbeaten Dragons, but the coach isn’t totally discouraged.

“We play to win, not to use games as measuring sticks,” Adams said. “At the same time, though, you have to see where you are and what you can do when the pressure is on.

“Now the job is to emmulate that to get us to the level that we want to be.”

Johnston got on the board first in the opener, building a 3-0 lead after four innings by scoring all three of their runs with two outs.

In the third, Madison Thilges – the daughter of Fort Dodge Senior High graduates Denny Thilges and Amy Reiners – led off by being hit by a pitch. Brooke Wilmes roped a double to move Thilges to third. Thilges then scored on a wild pitch, and Wilmes scored on an RBI single from Lauren Thilges – Madison’s sister.

In the fourth, sophomore Haylee Towers had a single with two outs. Later, pitch runner Mercedes Worsfold scored on an RBI double from Ellen Espeland.

Towers, who led the Dragons to a runner-up showing in Class 5A last season, had the Dodgers on their heels. She recorded four strikeouts and gave up seven hits, with five coming in the final two innings when Fort Dodge tried to mount a comeback.

The Dodgers scored in the bottom of the seventh after Madison Bodholdt reached on a single and later came home on a double from Bre Ulrich, who was 2-for-3 with an RBI and stolen base in the contest.

“We have to do all of the little things to win big games,” Adams said. “We need to go out there and execute and show plate discipline.

“Our defense was pretty good for the most part, but in certain situations, we didn’t get the job done. It’s a pretty fine line when you’re facing a team like Johnston.”

The Dodgers scored in the first inning of the nightcap and held that lead for five frames behind a solid pitching effort from freshman Meagan Hartman.

Adams tinkered with her lineup in the nightcap and it seemed to work, as leadoff hitter Lani Van Zyl went 3-for-3 with a double, stolen base and the lone run. Third baseman Mallor Kilian drove in Van Zyl with one of her two hits.

The Dragons came to life and rallied in the sixth. They recorded three hits, with RBI coming from Hannah Berger, Haley Pender and senior pitcher Sara Knee for a suddenly-commanding 4-1 advantage.

Fort Dodge is back in action on Friday at Cedar Falls. Action begins at 6:15 p.m.